Jailbreaking iOS devices is now illegal in the Philippines

Many Filipinos may not know of this yet but as of this writing, a new law is awaiting for the signature of President Benigno Aquino III to become effective. As earlier disclosed on Raissa Robles blog, the new law is said to comprise of controversial measures amending RA 8293. It is controversial in the sense that it totally erases every Filipino’s personal right to utilize available online resources, particularly the ones offering fun and entertainment.

The new law was reportedly forwarded to MalacaƱang Palace on the 29th of January this year, after passing the Congress. Once signed by the President, it will totally become effective.

Here’s what every Filipino ought to learn about this new law.

As explained by Raissa Robles on her blogpost, the new law forbids every Filipino from taking in or bringing in with them imported stuff for personal use, including books, DVDs and CDs containing movies and music files, even if they are legally procured from by the owner in other countries. Under section 190 of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines or Republic Act 8293, taking home of books, music and movies from abroad is a violation and punishable by law.

Also indicated in this new law is another restriction, barring every Filipino from modifying a device, like jailbreaking an Apple product including iPhone and iPad devices. This means that those who are thinking of removing original restrictions on such devices can be held criminally liable for copyright infringement.

Introduced in the amended version is a new concept of DRM or digital rights management, which tackles how people utilize digital products and gadgets on the Internet. It also points which behaviors are considered criminal and illegal.

If found guilty over jailbreaking and other types of copyright infringement, a person can be charged with penalties that would range from 3 years imprisonment plus a minimum of Php150,000 ($3,800+) worth of fines for the first offense. For third and subsequent offenses, violators may end up in jail for up to nine years plus a fine of Php1.5 million.

Aside from jailbreaking, downloading of music and movie files from the Internet is also considered illegal under the recently amended law by the Congress. This one is by far, the most controversial in such ruling as it will then hurt thousands and thousands of Filipinos surfing the web for the sole purpose of downloading movies or music files, for personal use. Although the new law also cited which downloads are considered illegal (downloads from site listed among the recording and movie companies in the United States that have been aiming to close).

Given all these new restrictions, what would the Filipinos from abroad could bring when they return? And more importantly, what more can a Filipino web surfer do when he/she gets online?

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